THE number of jobseekers’ allowance claimants in South Yorkshire has soared by 12.4 per cent in the last year - a third above the national average.
The number of unemployed people receiving the payments rose by 5,277 between December 2010 and December 2011, according to latest figures released by the Office of National Statistics.
There are now 42,435 job seekers’ allowance claimants in the county - 17,380 of them in Sheffield, or 4.6 per cent of the city’s labour market.
In Rotherham the figure stands at 8,251, or 5.1 per cent, in Barnsley 6,962, or 4.7 per cent, and in Doncaster 9,842, or 5.3 per cent.
Nationally, the number of jobseekers’ allowance claimants has risen by nine per cent, to 1,568,849.
Michael Dugher, Labour MP for Barnsley East, said youth unemployment in his town is a particular problem, with the number of 18 to 24-year-olds out of work for more than six months rising by 56 per cent.
He said: “Getting people - particularly our young people - into work is the surest way of getting the deficit down and putting us on the right course for the future.”
And Rotherham MP Denis MacShane said: “In America and Germany unemployment is falling as their governments work intelligently to put in place job-creating policies. In Britain we have rising joblessness, no growth, a weak pound and inflation twice that of Europe.”
Sheffield Council’s opposition Lib Dem leader, Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, said: “There should be a real effort to help create jobs.
“We proposed that Sheffield Council should use the £400,000 saved from wages on the November 30 strike last year to fund more apprenticeships. Ruling Labour councillors agreed - but now say they are not going to spend the money until April. It should be used now.”
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